UPDATE 1-Ex-BBC DJ Travis to face retrial on two sex offences

Mon Feb 24, 2014 6:48am EST

(Adds Travis reaction)

LONDON Feb 24 (Reuters) - Former BBC DJ Dave Lee Travis, who was cleared of 12 offences against women over three decades earlier this month, is to face a retrial on two counts on which the jury had been unable to agree, prosecutors said on Monday.

Travis, 68, will appear at Southwark Crown Court on March 28 on one charge of sexual assault and another of indecent assault.

Nicknamed "Hairy Cornflake" for his beard, Travis said after he was cleared of the 12 offences that he had been through a year-and-a-half of hell, had lost his reputation and had been forced to sell his house to fight the charges.

He reacted with anger to news of the retrial.

"The last time I stood here I told you that I'd been through 18 months of a nightmare and apparently I was wrong, because the nightmare is now going to go on," he told reporters outside the court.

"This whole thing started when I was 67 and I just hope it's going to end by the time I'm 80," he added.

Travis was the first ageing celebrity to go on trial as a direct result of an investigation launched after police revealed that the late Jimmy Savile, one of the BBC's top TV presenters, had been a prolific child sex offender.

After police launched "Operation Yewtree" in the wake of Savile's 2011 death, hundreds of people came forward with allegations against celebrities.

Critics asked why the BBC and police failed to take action years ago, but some commentators have voiced concern the investigation has become a witch-hunt against high-profile figures of the past to make up for the lack of action against Savile.

Last week, Britain's top prosecutor Alison Saunders defended the decision to bring the cases to court, arguing that the public would be "horrified" if prosecutors did not pursue historic cases of sex abuse and dismissing claims that they were over-compensating for past failures.

(Reporting by Julia Fioretti; editing by Stephen Addison)

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